Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Women Challenge #5: The Summary
 click on the image to go to the
    challenge on peek-a-booK!
In 2017 I participated once more in the bilingual Women Challenge #5 that Valentina hosted again on peek-a-booK!. It was an easy task for me because like every year half of the books that I reviewed here on Edith’s Miscellany and on my BOOKLIKES blog Lagraziana’s Kalliopeion were written by women. And it goes without saying that some of the reads were an unexpected pleasure, others a bit of a deception. Nonetheless, I’m happy to say that all things considered my choices turned out to be rather good ones although this year there was no book that truly sent me into raptures.

For me the female reading highlights of 2017 certainly were the novels written by Japanese writers, namely The River with No Bridge by Sumii Sué, The River Ki by Ariyoshi Sawako and Woman on the Other Shore by Kakuta Mitsuyo. That they all have to do with water is a mere coincidence that happened without my intention. Other books that are rather close to the top of my favourite reads of this year are So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ, Celebration in the Northwest by Ana María Matute, Roman Elegy by Sabine Gruber and Twice Born by Margaret Mazzantini.

An intentional theme on my blog was painting and it also reflects in four novels for thIs women challenge. The Painted Kiss by Elisabeth Hickey, Artemisia by Anna Banti and A Love Letter from a Stray Moon by Jay Griffiths are autobiographical fiction evoking the lives of Gustav Klimt, Artemisia Gentileschi and Frida Kahlo respectively. I also read the fictitious love story about a painter in Japan of the fin-de-siècle, namely The Dragon Painter by Mary McNeil Fenellosa, but romance isn’t really my cup of tea and therefore I’m not overly enthusiastic about the book.

I also re-read two books and with great pleasure: Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap who won the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize reading an extract from it in 2011 and Star Over Bethlehem by Agatha Christie Mallowan who published the slim volume of Christmas stories under her full married name to distinguish it from the crime fiction that made her famous.

This year none of the writers on my list is a Nobel laureate for the simple reason that there are only fourteen women among them and several of them didn’t/don’t write fiction.

And here’s my summary List of Books Written By Women in alphabetical order by authors’ family names including dates of release and original titles if they aren’t English:
  1. Ilse Aichinger: The Greater Hope (1948; previously translated into English as Herod's Children), original German title: Die größere Hoffnung
  2. Ariyoshi Sawako: The River Ki (1959), original Japanese title: 紀ノ川
  3. Mariama : So Long a Letter (1980), original French title: Une si longue lettre
  4. Ingeborg Bachmann: Letters to Felician (1946/1991), original German title: Briefe an Felician
  5. Anna Banti: Artemisia (1947), original Italian title: Artemisia
  6. Aphra Behn: The Adventure of the Black Lady (1697) »»» read my review on LaGraziana's Kalliopeion
  7. Charlotte Brontë: The Professor (1857) »»» read my review on LaGraziana's Kalliopeion
  8. Agatha Christie Mallowan: Star Over Bethlehem (1965)
  9. Laura Esquivel: Like Water for Chocolate (1989), original Spanish title: Como agua para chocolate
  10. Mary McNeil Fenollosa: The Dragon Painter (1906)
  11. Katie Flynn: No Silver Spoon (1999)
  12. Jay Griffiths: A Love Letter from a Stray Moon (2011) 
  13. Paula Grogger: The Door in the Grimming (1926), original German title: Das Grimmingtor
  14. Sabine Gruber: Roman Elegy (2011), original German title Stillbach oder Die Sehnsucht
  15. Maja Haderlap: Angel of Oblvion (2011), original German title: Engel des Vergessens
  16. Elisabeth Hickey: The Painted Kiss (2005) 
  17. Shirley Jackson: We Have Always Lived in  the Castle (1962)
  18. Kakuta Mitsuyo: Woman on the Other Shore (2004), original Japanese title: 対岸の彼女
  19. Else Lasker-Schüler: My Heart (1912), original German title: Mein Herz
  20. Clarice Lispector: Água Viva (1973; also translated into English as The Stream of Life), original Brazilian Portuguese title: Água viva
  21. Ana María Matute: Celebration in the Northwest (1952), original Spanish title: Fiesta al noroeste
  22. Margaret Mazzantini: Twice Born (2008), original Italian title: Venuto al mondo
  23. Eva Menasse: Vienna (2005), original German title: Vienna
  24. Julya Rabinowich: Splithead (2008), original German title: Spaltkopf
  25. Mercè Rodoreda: Death in Spring (1986), original Catalan title: La mort i la primavera »»» read my review on LaGraziana's Kalliopeion
  26. Judith Schalansky: The Giraffe's Neck (2011), original German title: Der Hals der Giraffe 
  27. Sumii Sué: The River with No Bridge (Volume I: 1961), original Japanese title: 橋のない川
  28. Marcelle Tinayre: To Arms! (1915; also translated into English as Sacrifice), original French title: La Veillée des armes. Le départ; Août 1914
  29. Regina Ullmann: Country Road (1921), original German title: Die Landstraße 
  30. Juli Zeh: Decompression (2012), original German title: Nullzeit »»» review forthcoming on LaGraziana's Kalliopeion


  1. Thank you for sharing this list. Over half the books I read in 2017 were written by women.

    1. As always, the (reading) pleasure has been on my side! It's commendable that you too read so many books written by women. Unfortunately, even in the twenty-first century we still don't get the same attention as male writers... in some cases, I admit that it's with good reason.


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